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Chimichangas vs. Burrito: Which is the Healthier Family Dinner?

Chimichanga vs. Burrito - Feature Image

Chimichangas vs. Burrito: Which is the Healthier Family Dinner?

We're diving deep into the world of Mexican cuisine and exploring the mouthwatering differences between two iconic dishes: burritos and chimichangas. Though they're similar, they are not the same, and understanding the differences is important.

Are Burritos and Chimichangas the Same Thing?

Any Mexican restaurant worth the salt on the rims of its margaritas will offer both chimichangas and burritos on the menu. It's completely understandable not to know the nuanced difference between these two dishes, which are closely related. Here, we tease out the specifics of each dish, including substitution options and the differences in their nutritional properties.

What Makes Burritos Different from Chimichangas?

Burritos are culinary wonders that hail from the northern parts of Mexico and have gained immense popularity worldwide. They consist of a large flour tortilla generously filled with a delightful combination of ingredients. The fillings range from seasoned meats like beef, chicken, or pork to vegetarian options such as beans, rice, and grilled veggies. The key is to pack all these scrumptious goodies into a tortilla and wrap them up into a neat and portable package.

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Chicken Burrito Burritos with chicken and vegetables at wooden desk close up
Burritos offer home cooks endless possibilities when it comes to healthy filling options.


What Sets Chimichangas Apart from Burritos?

Now, let's venture into the realm of chimichangas. These are a top choice for culinary explorers who appreciate a little crispiness in their Tex-Mex meals. Chimichangas are essentially burritos taken to the next level. After being filled to the brim with delicious ingredients, they take a dip in the deep fryer until they achieve a golden, crispy exterior. The result is a fusion of textures that will have you swooning in culinary ecstasy.

Nutritional Differences: Burritos vs. Chimichangas

When it comes to nutrition, we understand the importance of making informed choices for ourselves and our families. There are several considerations to take before selecting one or the other for your family's dinner table.


Calories and Fat Content: The calorie content of a burrito largely depends on the fillings, but on average, it ranges from 300 to 600 calories. The fat content can also vary, with healthier options like grilled vegetables and lean meats resulting in lower fat levels.

Due to the deep-frying process that makes them unique, chimichangas are biased toward being higher in calories, averaging around 700 to 1,000 calories. The fat content is also higher than burritos, as the frying adds more oil to the dish.

Protein Powerhouse: With options like grilled chicken or lean beef, burritos can be an excellent source of protein. They provide the fuel your body needs to keep going throughout the day.

While chimichangas can also contain protein-rich ingredients, the frying process may alter their nutritional value slightly. However, it's worth noting that moderation is key, and the occasional indulgence won't hurt. (This is, of course, our personal opinion and is not to be considered medical advice.)

Can They Be Substituted for Each Other?

Whether or not these closely related dishes can actually step onto each other's plates depends on several factors. First, the texture preferences of the diner must be taken into consideration. Then, nutritional goals and limits must be considered. Finally, the time it takes to prepare each option impacts their individual appeal.

Mexican chimichanga on white plate served with guacamole sauce. Fried tortilla stuffed with chicken and vegetables. Traditional Mexican food, Top view.
Chimichangas are crispy and golden brown due to being deep-fried after being filled and rolled into a burrito shape.

©Larisa Blinova/Shutterstock.com

Burritos as Substitutes: If you have a burrito recipe in hand but find yourself craving chimichanga-like crispiness, fear not! You can transform your burrito into a chimichanga by simply deep-frying it until it reaches that delectable golden hue and the exterior is crispy-crunchy. Keep in mind that this method will alter the texture and taste of your burrito. It can change the texture of the internal ingredients as well, so don't be surprised if the interior cheese is more liquid and the meat and vegetables are releasing more juice.

Chimichangas as Substitutes: If you only have chimichangas fixings and a burrito is what you want, you may be in luck, depending on how far into the cooking process you find yourself. If you're making these from scratch, you can simply skip the deep frying step and eat them once you've tucked all the ingredients into the burrito fold.

The Food Substitutions Bible
  • The must-have convenient reference guide for every home cook!
  • Includes more than 8,000 substitutions for ingredients, cookware, and techniques.
  • Save time and money on by avoiding trips to grab that "missing" ingredient you don't really need.
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Substitution Options for Burritos and Chimichangas

We understand that on a busy weeknight, both burritos and chimichangas may be too tall an order. Luckily in the family of Tex-Mex dishes, there are ample options that can scale the flavors and ingredients you love into a workable, delicious, nutritious meal for your family.

Substitution Options for Burritos:

  • Tacos: If you're looking for a smaller portion size, opt for soft or hard shell tacos. They offer the same delicious filling choices in a more compact package. You can also skip the rice and beans if you're either restricting your diet or simply don't have them on hand.
  • Burrito Bowl: For a lighter option, skip the tortilla altogether and enjoy your burrito fillings in a bowl. It's perfect for those watching their carb intake, those who forgot to put tortillas on the grocery list, and those who just prefer dishes made as salads.
  • Quesadillas: Embrace the gooey goodness of melted cheese by transforming your burrito fillings into a mouthwatering quesadilla. From a culinary perspective, these are incredibly accessible, and they're much easier to customize if you're feeding a group with differing preferences. It's a crowd-pleaser for both kids and adults.

Substitution Options for Chimichangas:

  • Enchiladas: Swap the deep-frying process for a flavorful bath in enchilada sauce. Roll up your tortillas with fillings, smother them in sauce, sprinkle with some cheese, and bake to perfection. These are especially good if you serve them up with textural counterpoints, like chilled sour cream, fresh sliced green onions, chunky fresh pico de Gallo, and thick, creamy guacamole.
  • Flautas: Similar to chimichangas, flautas are rolled tortillas filled with delicious Tex-Mex ingredients, but they are traditionally pan-fried or baked rather than deep-fried. This provides a slightly healthier alternative without compromising on taste or texture.
  • Tostadas: For a crunchy twist, pile your chimichanga fillings on top of a crispy tortilla base. We start by toasting the crispy tortilla in a dry skillet. Top it with your favorite toppings and dive into a fiesta of flavors.

Comparison of Chimichangas vs. Burritos

There are so many options for choosing a delicious Mexican dish. Chimichangas and burritos are two dishes that get rave reviews from patrons. Although they have many similarities, let's recap their differences:

  • Burritos are done once you finish rolling them. On the other hand, chimichangas aren't done until they take a dip in the deep fryer.
  • Because they are fried, chimichangas have slightly more calories than burritos.
  • If you're looking for a softer bite, burritos are a great choice. However, if you're looking for more of a crunch, go for a chimichanga.

Best Burrito Recipes

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Veggie-filled Turkey Burrito

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  • Author: Moms Who Think



2 tablespoons canola oil
1 onion, halved, thinly sliced
1 pound lean ground turkey breast
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups shredded carrots
1 cup golden raisins
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon rubbed dried sage
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 (15 ounce) can lima beans, rinsed and drained
1½ cups crumbled queso blanco cheese
10 whole wheat flour tortillas


1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook onion and ground turkey, stirring often, for 5 to 6 minutes or until turkey is browned and onion is softened. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Stir in shredded carrots and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes.

3. Add raisins, tomato sauce, sage, cinnamon, parsley, and lima beans, stirring to combine. Cook for 2 minutes and then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Divide turkey mixture among tortillas and sprinkle with cheese. Fold tortilla ends over and roll burrito-style. Serve immediately.

Best Chimichanga Recipes

While they share common origins, these two Mexican delights have distinct characteristics that make them unique and utterly delicious. Whether you're in the mood for a portable burrito or a crispy chimichanga, Mexican cuisine has you covered. So, go forth, explore, and create culinary magic in your kitchen. Happy cooking and bon appétit! Remember, life is too short for dull meals. And there are far too many quick, easy, healthy meals out there to ever stop exploring the possibilities.

The Food Substitutions Bible
  • The must-have convenient reference guide for every home cook!
  • Includes more than 8,000 substitutions for ingredients, cookware, and techniques.
  • Save time and money on by avoiding trips to grab that "missing" ingredient you don't really need.
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
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